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The pharmacy - a really accessible source of help and advice

This is Ask Your Pharmacist Week (November 1 – 8) week and people across Suffolk and north east Essex are being encouraged to visit their local pharmacy for advice and help if they or a family member are unwell.

You can talk to the pharmacist about a wide range of health issues, not just about medicines. Yet, sometimes people go to a GP practice or even a hospital for things that could be sorted out more conveniently at the pharmacy. 

Many pharmacies are open long hours including evenings and weekends, and the pharmacy is one of the most accessible sources of health and wellbeing advice, with no appointment needed to speak with a pharmacist.

Pharmacies can give treatment advice about a range of common conditions and minor injuries, such as:

• aches and pains
• sore throat
• coughs
• colds
• flu
• earache
• cystitis
• skin rashes
• teething

Pharmacists are experts in medicines. Every pharmacist trains initially for five years in the use of medicines, managing minor illnesses and providing health and wellbeing advice.

Sarah Westall, Senior Pharmacy Technician, NHS North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Pharmacists and their teams are readily accessible healthcare professionals in your community. They can help you to take care of yourself and provide expert advice to make sure you receive the appropriate treatment for your condition.

“GPs are very appreciative of the help and support pharmacists give to their patients by helping free up some of their time so they can concentrate on those patients with more serious conditions. They also appreciate their patients for acknowledging that a minor ailment can be seen by a community pharmacist first, who can seek further professional help from a clinician if the patient’s condition falls outside their scope of treatment.”

Jawn Jiang, Pharmacist from North Street Pharmacy in Sudbury said:“Ask Your Pharmacist Week is a great reminder to patients that pharmacists are local  healthcare professionals that offer more than medicine and minor illness advice and support. 

“Suffolk pharmacies also offer a range of additional services such as emergency contraception, stop smoking service, provide chlamydia screening and treatment and much more. 

“So if you’re not sure if we can help, just ask!”

Your local pharmacy can also help with the following:

• you may be referred to a pharmacist for advice after contacting NHS 111 or a GP
• emergency contraception
• asthma inhaler use and advice
• chlamydia screening and treatment
• stop smoking service
• blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar testing
• substance misuse service, including needle and syringe exchange schemes
• weight management service
• flu vaccination

You can find the location of your nearest pharmacy HERE

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